Staff Photo: Erin Evans. A procession of about 70 law enforcement and first responders vehicles escorted the family of slain Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Mahaffey Tuesday down Parker Road en route to visitation at the First Baptist Church of Conyers. The procession will take the same route today for the Mahaffey's funeral and begin from Scot Ward Funeral Home at about 1:45 p.m. and go through Olde Town Conyers and down Parker Road before turning onto Flat Shoals Road and Ga. Highway 138 North to the church for services to begin at 2 p.m.
CONYERS -- An outpouring of support is coming from the same community that Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Mahaffey gave his all to protect and serve.
Mahaffey was shot and killed Saturday while he and other narcotics and vice unit investigators were serving an arrest warrant at a house off Honey Creek Road.
Estimates are hundreds of people lined the roads Tuesday from the funeral home to the First Baptist Church of Conyers. The same processional route is expected before today's 2 p.m. funeral at the church.
Several local businesses in the Honey Creek Village Shopping Center organized a Memorial Benefit for May 22. All or some of that day's earnings will go to benefit Mahaffey's wife and two small children.
Sprouts and Garden, a fashion consignment store located at the shopping center between Pizza Hut and Ingles, will be donating 100 percent of its earnings that day, said the store's owner Kelley Collins. The store will also have general donation buckets. Collins explained how several surrounding businesses in the shopping center are participating in the benefit, too.
"Brian and Diana (Mahaffey's wife) were regulars here ... She's been shopping in my store since she was pregnant with Trenton (Mahaffey's 2-year-old son)," Collins told the Citizen Tuesday. "Everybody loved them."
Collins voice broke as she recounted seeing the family just last Friday, the day before the shooting.
"We are asking the community to participate to make this a huge success for his family," Collins said.
Alonzo Hill of Regency Barber Shop and Salon said several other Honey Creek businesses are showing support to local police and law enforcement by displaying black and blue ribbons.
General donations and proceeds from the sale of the $10 ribbons are also going to a fund for Mahaffey's children.
"We're all trying to get together to help the family out," said Richard Leverington, owner of Conyers Discount Caskets, another participating business.
The Porterdale Police Department is including a tribute to Mahaffey in its police benefit motorcycle ride "We Ride to Provide," this Saturday at the train depot.
Registration is $25 for riders and a $5 for passengers. All donations will be collected at a Memorial Tent that will go toward the Mahaffey family.
Registration will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and the ceremony for Mahaffey will begin at 10 a.m.
American Legion Post 77 will serve as the color guard and offer a 21-gun salute.
Sgt. Jason Cripps, the K-9 handler at Porterdale Police Department, and his wife Holly are organizing the event.
"As a wife of an officer, it is my job, my duty and my privilege to step up and assist her on any level I am able and these are the views of Porterdale Police, as well," Holly said. "We intend to have an American flag on the ride that will be presented to his widow along with the funds collected for her."
Holly recalled the time when her husband was shot in the line of duty, explaining how what happened to Mahaffey "just really made me think."
"We just want her to know we're here for her," Holly said.
A portion of the motorcycle ride will also go toward the Mahaffey family.
Sgt. Cripps said "well over 200 people," had said they were coming to the event.
"All of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the support and the leadership and professionalism of our Chief W. Digby," Cripps said. "He's a pinnacle point of the department's growth."